{TB Talks TV} The Americans Review: “Salang Pass”


Tweetable Takeaway: Philip fights orders to corrupt a minor. Hear that Daniel Rosen, Director of CT at U.S. Department of State?

Airtime: Wednesday at 10pm on FX

By: , Contributor

strengthen their relationships in Salang Pass. Not a lot of action this week, but a lot of drama. One of the many strengths of this great show is how believable everyone is in their many relationships. Even though Elizabeth and Philip nurture their asset relationships for the sake of espionage, the time they spend in those cover-circles are very real and heavy with dilemma.

In Salang Pass, Elizabeth manipulates he friend Lisa into a more advantageous position at Northrop. Elizabeth plays an Alcoholic, and Lisa is her sponsor. When they get together, they do things to help each other. Lisa has problems with her marriage, and moved in with her sister. Her kids are sleeping on the floor. Elizabeth gets her set up with her own place, and kills a guy (Northrop assembly line worker) so Lisa can get a transfer to a better Northrop location. This is what friendship was like when it took more than clicking a button.

Martha’s baby fever rises a couple degrees when she takes Philip to a foster care facility to press her foster parent agenda, because Philip really needs a cover-foster-child. The thing is, Philip likes kids and he could see himself doing it to satisfy Martha.

Stan’s sheets have plenty of wrinkles of their own. Tori, the woman that took a liking to him at the EST weekend, calls his FBI office to ask him out. Hey, it’s the 80’s — a woman can ask a guy out now. On the other love front, Stan meets with Oleg and tries to convince him on a prisoner exchange to get Nina out of the Gulag. Oleg considers it because they both really love Nina. These two dudes are really cute as they meet and machinate to get her released.

Then and Now – the war in Afghanistan and the corruption of youth.

Philip listens to a TV news report about a fire in the Salang tunnel that killed over sixty Soviet soldiers and 112 Afghans. At that time, the Soviets were almost halfway into a very unpopular ten-year war with Afghanistan. The tunnel was the site of frequent ambushes and the war is something that weighs heavily on his mind, as well as his comrades at the Rezidentura. The fun in fiction doesn’t stop there.

Philips newest spiritual dilemma is how to handle his new asset, Kimberly. He knows she’s young, but he finds out she’s only fifteen. Philip, among other things is a killer. He kills, he lies, he seduces people as he spies. You might ask, where does he draw the line? He draws the line at kids. Kids are off limits to Philip. This is the struggle he has protecting Paige from the KGB and this is what he struggles with where Kimberly is involved. Kimberly is the daughter of his enemy, and so far, he goes to the mattresses for her. Granted, his own kids will always tale priority, he struggles with just how far to go with her. Elizabeth challenges to get in there and see what he has to work with and he tells her, “What I have to work with is a hormonal, fifteen year old girl.” This is the current drama in the fantastic fiction of The Americans. The current drama in our real world is actually darker. Yesterday, Daniel Rosen, the Director of Counterterrorism Programs and Policy at U.S. Department of State, was arrested in a sting operation conducted by a Child Exploitation Task Force. That’s right, a female officer working with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s department helped sting our State Department Counterterrorism guru, a man in charge of a budget he claims is north of $300 million. Philip, Elizabeth, and the rest of our enemies would all be out of work if their fictional State Department was as self destructive as our actual State Department. You have to wonder what secrets Mr. Rosen, with all of his training and expertise, hoped to get out of his young target. How bad did he need to share his advice about a playlist or opinions about Fifty Shades?

What are you watching/listening to?

On the news in the background, there are pictures of the Mount St. Helens volcano eruption. This was a devastating and terrifying natural disaster, which produced a column of smoke over 20km high and covered the area around it in thick ash.

Philip also attends a bonfire-party where he meets with Kimberly and in the background plays the song, I Ran, “so far away,” by UK band, A Flock of Seagulls. This was a popular song around 1982 that came with a popular video with a lead singer sporting an original blond-do. Think Ducky from Pretty in Pink. It was good fun and the song didn’t have anything to do with Iran, so far away.

Rub some dirt on it.

Philip goes to Kimberly’s home and gets her stoned on Afghan cush. When she passes out, he roams around her daddy’s office looking for items he can use and finds a fancy briefcase Mr. Breeland, head of the CIA Afghan group, uses for work. Before he leaves, he carries Kimberly, still passed out up, to her bedroom. As he sets her down, she wakes up and kisses him. Philip doesn’t get a moment to process before he hears the door slam, her father returning home. He runs out of there, “like a teenager,” and heads home where his conscious weighs on him.

Philip asks Elizabeth if she thinks about when and how they were trained in sex. Elizabeth says it was probably different for women than men. Sure, most things are and I’m sure her lessons and exercises were excruciating, but here we get a glimpse of Philip reminiscing about his training. This look into his past and how they trained agents for sex gives a very complete, sympathetic, and horrifying picture. Men, women, young, old, and everything else they could think of to prepare him in the art of seduction, how to make it real with absolutely anyone. Who walks in shoes like that?


Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.

Twitter: @etom2012

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